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When you work as part of a team on managing social media—whether it's a team of 2 or 20—problems and mix-ups are bound to arise. Who decides what gets published? Who has permission to access a particular social account? How do you quickly get approval from busy managers or clients?

This article will discuss planning your social media marketing, including approval workflows and team collaboration.

Why do you need a workflow?

Unless you're completely alone managing your social media—from the creation process to actually publishing your updates and managing comments and messages—you need a tool that allows for multiple team members and lets you set up clear workflows and approval schemes:

  • You won't need to share social media passwords with everyone on your team.
  • You'll be able to assign specific roles to each team member, manager, or client so that everyone knows what to do.
  • You'll plan all social media content in one place, including drafting ideas and collaborating with your team to get suggestions and improve each update.
  • You'll submit each update for approval before scheduling/publishing to the right party to avoid any issues that might arise.

What does a social media approval workflow look like?

Though it does depend to some extent what tool you're using for team collaboration, the collaboration and approval workflow follow certain steps every time.

You add team members with their own specific roles that control what they can or can't do on the platform. For example, some can only create content, others can make suggestions and leave comments, while others also have the power to decide what gets published or scheduled. In some cases, you can even control which specific social accounts they have access to and what they can do on them.

You also use a shared space to jot down all your team's ideas, make suggestions for each piece of content to improve it, and come up with additional ideas for content.

Finally, the manager/editor/client approves the updates they prefer be scheduled or published directly.

What tools can you use?

Here are four useful tools for planning, collaboration, and setting up an easy-to-follow approval workflow.

ContentCal

ContentCal's big focus is on helping teams plan their social media strategy as effectively as possible. Although it's a scheduling, management, and analytics tool, it's the planning and collaboration features that really shine.

The tool simplifies the planning and approval process for small and large teams:

  • Create social media calendars, each with one or several social networks.
  • Add team members, clients, and managers to the tool, each with their own specific roles and capabilities (for example, certain users can only view content and make comments, others can only create content, whereas others simply approve the best content).

  • Start planning your social media strategy and jot down update ideas in the Pinboard.
  • Drag and drop approved updates and content to the calendar to schedule/publish them.
  • Tag and colour code your updates to organise your calendar:

  • Respond to comments and messages and check your analytics to find ways to improve your social content and strategy.

Buffer for Business

Buffer is a powerful tool on its own, but Buffer for Business is a much better choice if you work as part of a team or need to get approval on your content.

With it, you get the usual features you'd expect from Buffer—scheduling and publishing updates, update queues, and social media analytics—but you also get collaboration features:

  • Add multiple team members to help manage your social accounts.
  • Give specific user permissions to each team member, including which accounts they can access, whether they can post updates, or whether their updates need approval before scheduling or publishing:

  • Assign access to your social accounts in bulk to save time (if you have many team members).

CoSchedule

If, on the other hand, you're looking for a tool that allows you to manage all of your marketing strategies from one place, CoSchedule is one of the best options.

It's a calendar tool built specifically for marketing teams (and businesses), so you can create calendars for your social media, your content marketing, and all your other marketing activities, as well as set up project workflows:

  • Add your entire team to the account and keep all your conversations in one place:

  • Create project workflows outlining each step and task that needs doing, so that everyone on your team knows what they need to do and any given moment; each task can be assigned to specific team members and you can also specify who needs to approve (in this case) the content.
  • Schedule and publish all your social media content by using the built-in calendar and scheduling tools.

Hootsuite

For those looking for a full-suite social media management tool, Hootsuite has several plans with powerful team management and collaboration features:

  • Assign custom roles to each member so that they can access only particular networks or even accounts, and/or take certain actions:

  • Use a shared space to upload all your social media assets and to draft your ideas to be improved, and approved to be scheduled or published.
  • Assign tasks to your team members so that everyone knows what to do.
  • Schedule and publish updates, as well as manage your entire social media as a team.

* * *

All the tools in this list have powerful collaboration features, but ContentCal and CoSchedule have the best features for setting up clear, easy-to-follow social media approval workflows.

If you work with a bigger team of over 3-4 members and if you need to get approval on your content before publishing something, these types of tool will help you plan your ideas and strategies faster, but they will also help with your peace of mind, as you'll be able to make sure each piece of content is approved by the right people before it's published.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock is a social media marketing consultant, trainer, and highly regarded speaker.

LinkedIn: Lilach Bullock